Wydad Casablanca are the top team on the African continent for the first time in 25 years after a 1-0 home victory over Al Ahly in the second leg of their Champions League final secured a 2-1 aggregate win in Casablanca on Saturday.
Walid El-Karti’s second-half strike proved the decisive moment on the night as Wydad proved worthy winners of Africa’s elite competition to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup that will be played in the United Arab Emirates from Dec. 6-16.
Wydad’s stout home defence, which has now seen them concede just a single goal in seven games in 2017, again proved crucial as they barely gave Ahly a sight of goal, especially in the second half. Ahly’s Moroccan forward Walid Azaro had a half-chance early on, before Moemen Zakareya had the best chance of the night for the visitors when he found himself one-on-one with Wydad goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi, but could not finish.
Just before that the home side had struck the post when Abdeladim Khadrouf’s shot from inside the penalty area deflected off Hussein El-Sayed.
Wydad began to control the midfield in the second period and largely snuffed out any chances for the Egyptians. They took the lead on 69 minutes when El-Karti showed great determination to get between two Ahly defenders and head home a cross from Achraf Bencharki.
Wydad came close to a second as Ismail Haddad turned the ball goalwards from point-blank range, but Ahly keeper Sherif Ekramy came up with a fine stop.
Ahly pushed forward in search of an equaliser but offered little in the way of a threat to the Wydad goal, and the home side were left to celebrate their first win in the competition since 1992.
The Moroccan champion wins the title, synonymous with a bonus of $ 2.5 million and ticket to the World Club in the United Arab Emirates where they will challenge the Mexicans from Pachuca, on December 9th in the quarterfinals.